Supplementary AGENDA 1R
TUESDAY 6 DECEMBER 2016
6 December 2016
MEETING AGENDA – PRECIS
The following report appears as a late item with the Administrator’s approval as information required for the preparation of the report was not available at the time of distribution of the Business Paper.
1 Administrator’s Minutes
C1216 Item 26 Administrator's Minute: Westconnex - Traffic in Local Neighbourhoods
and Streets and Assessing Stage 3 Impacts 4
6 December 2016
Subject: Administrator's Minute:Westconnex - Traffic in
and Streets and Assessing Stage
File Ref: 16/4718/138075.16
From Councillor Richard Pearson, Mayor of Marrickville
1. Council immediately commission a study, including appropriate traffic modelling, to assess the impacts each stage of WestConnex will have on residential neighbourhoods and streets following the progressive opening of each stage of WestConnex.
2. The study recommend appropriate traffic management measures to respond to the impacts predicted to occur and Council use this to lobby the State Government to fund the implementation of required measures which are to be put in place prior to any stages of WestConnex opening to traffic.
3. Council ensure that the study addresses what the impacts on Stage 1 (Haberfield/Ashfield) and Stage 2 (St Peters/Tempe) residential environments will be with and without Stage 3 of WestConnex, in order to shape Council’s and the community’s final position on Stage 3.
4. Council engage specialist consultants in the areas of engineering, air pollution, transport and other key disciplines to undertake a detailed assessment of key issues to inform Council's submissions on the Stage 3 design plans and EIS.
5. Council allocate $250,000 for traffic modelling studies and $250,000 for specialist consultants to be funded in the next quarterly budget review.
One of the key concerns Inner West Council has with WestConnex, and one strongly shared by its predecessor councils, is the impact WestConnex will have on the amenity of local streets and neighbourhoods in the vicinity of and beyond tunnel portals. This will occur in Haberfield/Ashfield, Tempe/St Peters and Rozelle/Leichhardt as stages of WestConnex are opened to traffic.
The “rat running” which will occur as motorists either seek to avoid WestConnex tolls or where WestConnex has missing links (for example, when Stage 1 opens but there is no direct connection to destinations such as Sydney Airport) will result in significant and potentially permanent adverse impacts on the amenity of our residential neighbourhoods.
While this is acknowledged in the conditions of approval for WestConnex – for example Condition E40 of the New M5 consent requires the preparation of a Road Network Performance Review Plan which includes assessing the impacts of WestConnex on local roads and rat running – the development of the plan would not commence until 12 months after the new M5 is operational, effectively condemning residents to years of adverse amenity impacts before any remedial action is contemplated.
Council considers this to be totally unacceptable and inconsistent with the principles of modern environmental impact assessment – whereby impacts should be predicted through traffic modelling and other prediction techniques – and remediation measures put in place to avoid the impacts before they occur. To this end, Council has been seeking for many months, access to RMS traffic data to enable it to do the work that the State Government has not – to investigate the impacts each stage of WestConnex will have on our residential environments and design schemes and measures to ensure predicted adverse impacts are avoided.
Following discussion with Council’s Deputy General Manager Assets and Environment and Strategic Transport Planner, it is proposed to immediately commission a study to assess the impacts each stage of WestConnex will have on our residential neighbourhoods when opened to traffic and how those impacts can be mitigated or avoided. The study will also be used to lobby the State Government to fully fund actions required given the clear and unambiguous nexus to impacts from WestConnex, as well as to ensure measures are in place prior to the opening of any stages of WestConnex. Given the first stage is not due to open to traffic until 2020 there is ample time for this to occur.
Council has been hamstrung in its efforts to commence this work due to the fact that RMS has continually promised, but ultimately not delivered, relevant traffic modelling data in its possession. Recent approaches have been made to the highest levels of RMS for access to this data, however Council now intends to commence the study and either scrutinise the RMS data when it becomes available or obtain its own traffic modelling to inform the study.
As well as informing the traffic measures required in local areas to mitigate the impacts of each stage of WestConnex, it is very important that the study also enables Council and the community to make an informed decision about Stage 3 of WestConnex. One argument is that the tunnel element of Stage 3, which will connect Haberfield to St Peters, will improve traffic impacts in the vicinity of Haberfield and St Peters by removing surface traffic. However, this needs to be properly tested by the study including whether mitigation measures proposed would of themselves address surface impacts, therefore diminishing the need for the Stage 3 tunnel.
Attachment 1 contains a preliminary scope for the study prepared by Council’s Strategic Transport Planner which Council will seek to commission by the end of the year for completion within 4-5 months.
While Council will fund the study upfront due to the urgent need to have the work completed to ensure measures are in place prior to the opening of any stages of WestConnex, Council will seek reimbursement of some or all of the study cost from RMS/SMC given that fact that the WestConnex consents require this work to be done (albeit too late in the process).
Additionally, given that the first half of 2017 will see the release of key Stage 3 approval documentation, including the release of design plans in mid-January and an EIS in May, it is imperative that Council gets on the front foot in its ability to critically assess the impacts of this Stage. To that end, Council will be moving to engage specialist consultants in key disciplines such as engineering, air pollution and transport to inform its consideration of the Stage 3 design plans and EIS to supplement the traffic modelling advice it is obtaining.
Attachment 1 – WestConnex Local Neighbourhoods and Streets Traffic Impact Study -Preliminary Scope
WESTCONNEX LOCAL NEIGHBOURHOODS AND STREETS TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDY – PRELIMINARY SCOPE
o sensitive landuses;
o pedestrian and cycle desirelines;
o crash histories/black spots;
o conflict points and congested locations;